Expansion of Allentown hospital will offer more services to women and babies
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Access to labor and delivery health care is increasing in Allentown.
St. Luke’s University Health Network on Monday cut the ribbon on its new Allentown campus women and babies pavilion.
The pavilion will open to patients Wednesday, Feb. 14.
“As the community has grown, and the desire to seek services with us has grown, our unit, unfortunately, has stayed the same size. And so it was hard for us to be able to provide the level of care that we wanted to all the people who wanted that care.”Dr. Elizabeth Dierking, St. Luke's chairwoman of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“It's really important for patients when they are experiencing anything unusual with their pregnancy, it's such an emotional time, and to be able to look into the faces of the doctors who know them and can explain things to them," said Dr. Elizabeth Dierking, St. Luke's chairwoman of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"And then ensure them that they will get the best care right where they expected to.”
The new section of St. Luke’s Allentown Campus at 1736 Hamilton St., is 85,000 square feet.
“As the community has grown, and the desire to seek services with us has grown, our unit, unfortunately, has stayed the same size," Dierking said.
"And so it was hard for us to be able to provide the level of care that we wanted to all the people who wanted that care.”
She said expanding services for women and babies in Allentown will increase access to health care services in the city.
"You can't really put a price tag on how valuable it is when things are stressful to be someplace where you know, to be with familiar surroundings, to be with the doctors that you know,” Dierking said.
Up to 3,000 births per year
The new neonatal intensive care unit at the location is also growing, officials said.
"We're opening our neonatal ICU," said Keri Angelozzi, vice president of St. Luke's Allentown campus and the Associate Chief Nursing Officer.
“Always about access. It's always about specialty services that we have and it's right here in the city of Allentown."Keri Angelozzi, vice president of St. Luke's Allentown campus and the Associate Chief Nursing Officer
"It is going from a level-two NICU to a level-three NICU, which means we can take care of tiny or more premature babies and keep our families together right in the community of downtown.”
Angelozzi said St. Luke's now had "services in this new pavilion that will double our ability to have up to 3,000 births here per year."
St. Luke’s Anderson and Upper Bucks campuses currently have neonatal intensive care units, but Angelozzi said those campuses can be challenging to get to for people who live in the city.
“Always about access," she said. "It's always about specialty services that we have and it's right here in the city of Allentown."
'I just feel very, very cared for'
Kristin Milano of Breinigsville, a soon to be mom-of-two, helped cut the ribbon alongside her husband, Peter, and daughter, Emelia.
"I love St. Luke's, how it's a small family feel," Kristen Milano said.
The Milano family is expecting another little girl in June and Milano said she plans to deliver in the new wing.
She said she had a great experience with her first daughter in 2018 in the existing hospital.
"It's so nice to showcase a lot of the babies who were actually born through St. Luke's."Kristin Milano of Breinigsville
“I just feel very, very cared for at St. Luke's," she said. "So I'm very excited to deliver here again.
“Plus, the fact that we have this stunning new unit was very exciting to be able to deliver in something that feels more like a hotel.”
When Milano delivers her second child at the Hamilton Street location she will also be surrounded by familiar art.
Milano, a photographer, was asked by St. Luke’s to provide still photos of children to decorate the walls of the new unit.
"It's so nice to showcase a lot of the babies who were actually born through St. Luke's,” she said. She said she donated the works for the wall.